Live Sydney 7s: Young gun’s double puts men on top, women face biggest test yet


On the eve of the Sydney Sevens Australia’s men’s coach John Manenti said defence was the hallmark of any successful side in the World Series.

On that measure, he will be satisfied because for the second straight match defence is what won them the game, as Australia put away Canada 22-7 to move into top spot in Pool A.


Australia conceded the first try and trailed 7-5 at half-time before scoring three unanswered tries in the second half. The victory means Australia will top their pool, and potentially avoid Fiji if the Island Nation can get past France in Pool D, if they beat Argentina later on Saturday afternoon.

“I think it’s important [to beat Argentina],” Manenti said.

“France can’t be underestimated, they can knock Fiji off so there’s no guarantee that if you don’t top the pool you get Fiji anyway.

“Some of the top teams are still struggling for consistency. When they’re hot, they’re red hot, but they’ll still have a bad game occasionally. All we can do is focus on us.

“But I am noticing a lot of the top teams are firing on all cylinders, so hopefully they get it out of their system.”

John Manenti wants Australia’s men’s team to be ruthless after letting a number of first half chances slip. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images

While praising their defence, Manenti said it was crucial his side start better after once again failing to take their chances and having to come from behind to win.

“It’s been a big work-on for us because, in sevens, slow starts can get you in trouble,” he said.

“Ultimately, we had possession and we should have done more with it. I feel there’s a little bit of ‘it’s just going to happen.’

“We’re a different team to some of the others, we grind teams, we out-work them, we don’t necessarily come out from the get-go and blow teams away and that’s OK, but we’ve also got to take our opportunities.”

James Turner’s match exemplified the improved performance from the home side.

Turner, 24, was strong on both sides of the ball as was Henry Patterson, whose big frame caused damage on the fringes of the Canadians.

Less than 24 hours earlier the winger, who has featured for the Waratahs over the past two seasons, was penalised for not releasing near the southern touchline against Great Britain.

But against Canada, the winger didn’t overplay his hand, released and ended up scoring Australia’s only five-pointer of the first half.

James Turner scored a double against Canada on day of the Sydney 7s. Photo: Matt King/Getty Images

Turner’s second try when the Canadians were reduced to six men saw the home side take the lead as he scored out wide.

When Darby Lancaster burst through the defensive line Australia finally took the ascendancy.

Henry Hutchison’s late try made the victory an emphatic one in front of a healthy crowd.

Turner said the home side’s defence was an example of the home side not wanting to let each other down.

“I think it’s our defence [which is winning us games]. We haven’t had a lot of ball,” he said.

“We’re a pretty deadly team with the ball but I think we’re really working on defending really well and it means a lot. We love each other and that’s why we do it.”

On his two tries, Turner, whose professional career started in unfortunate circumstances as he struggled on an Eden Park with the wrong sprigs said it was a confidence booster.

“It just makes you feel good, it makes you feel a million bucks,” he said.

“Scoring tries and getting pilfers, they just give you a lot of confidence and that’s what we do in sevens.”

Australia’s women’s side, led by Charlotte Caslick and Demi Hayes, will be face Ireland in their final pool match.

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